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How to ensure cleaning contract security

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Ensuring peace of mind when specifying the personnel responsible for cleaning your facilities involves putting in place rigorous systems to check that they are who they say they are.

Employees are our greatest asset, but are the personnel who undertake the cleaning of your facilities really who they claim to be?

An estimated 500,000 – 900,000 foreigners work illegally in the UK, mostly in London. Forged, altered or out-of-date ID documents are used by hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, yet few contractors are able to spot them.

Is your workforce legal?
While some organisations settle for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks – which replaced CRB checks – these are useless if the ID in question is fake because fictitious people will not appear on criminal records.

People who don’t exist will pass the check – and give you a false sense of security. And, if they’re working illegally, there is a risk of prosecution by the Home Office.

Measures to curb illegal immigration are central to the government’s planned new laws, set out at the Queen’s recent State Opening of Parliament. The fact is that when organisations like Julius Rutherfoord inherit staff through the Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) process, it can be the case that between 20-40% of them have forged or out-of-date IDs.

This shows how complacent some contractors have become – and how strong security measures need to be. Fake documents don’t pass rigorous security vetting procedures and further checks will need to be made through the UK Border Agency.

1. Identify fake documents
Some contractors use the same passport and identity document scanning technology as that used by Customs personnel at international airports. Every passport and ID document is scanned to check its authenticity against an international database based in the Netherlands that holds the details of passports and other forms of ID from over 200 countries.

The scanner reads and instantly verifies the MRZ code (the machine readable zone at the bottom of passports) and checks each document under both infrared and ultraviolet light, automatically highlighting any irregularities it finds. This technology enables fake passports or ID documents to be identified in seconds.

2. Recruitment decisions
Work with contractors that check against List 99. This records individuals who are deemed unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) also helps employers make safer and better informed recruitment decisions, when supported with thorough ID checks.

3. Are the right people working?
ID attendance systems ensure that only the right personnel enter your premises. Employees sign in and out with a short phone call, from a dedicated line within the client premises that is linked automatically to a time and attendance system.

There are three ways to check who’s making the call – voice identification software, caller ID (to check where they’re calling from) and a unique pin code that they must enter. This means that staff cannot clock in from their mobile on the bus if they are running late, or get unauthorised people with neither the training nor the security vetting to perform the job.

For contracts that require even higher security, other checks can be built into the system, including biometrics, such as iris and fingerprint recognition. Some systems can also filter criteria for each contract, for example, if a client requires all staff on the site to be first aid trained or have counter terrorism clearance.

Moreover, time and attendance software guarantees that the client gets the exact level of service they have paid for, as service levels start to fall if attendance drops. The system logs sickness and holidays and creates an open post for any site requirements, which is automatically sent to the operations managers.

4. Customer relationships
CRM systems enable all communication between clients and contractors to be logged and accessed quickly, which can help alleviate security concerns. Summaries are held of conversations, emails, meetings, consumables used on site and details of any sub-contractors involved. This helps contractors to better understand their clients’ needs.

5. Using GPS systems
Fleet software systems linking vehicles by GPS signals ensure that contractors know exactly where vehicles are in real time and whether they are parked or moving. If there’s an emergency that requires additional backup support at a client’s site, it is possible to check online to see where all vehicles are and deploy the vehicle closest to the site.

6. Monitoring performance
The use of handheld devices by contractors when on-site with clients allow managers and quality auditors to record data about performance. With this information, head office staff can check whether the contractors’ team is meeting the requirements set out in the specification, ensure relevant compliances and create a site audit for clients.

Operatives can even provide a date and time stamped photo capture of the area to be worked on before and after the cleaning has been completed, for complete peace of mind.

James Bennett is operations director at cleaning organisation, Julius Rutherfoord.

Originally published on FM World:


Julius Rutherfoord